Worldwide children’s health at risk from climate change

November 19, 2019

Children are at greater risk of health effects from climate change than other groups, according to a report from The Lancet.

The report found that children’s bodies, which are less adept at handling the effects of climate change and pollution than adult bodies due to their faster heartrate and breathing rate, will be at increasing risk over the coming years.

“With every degree of warming, a child born today faces a future where their health and well-being will be increasingly impacted by the realities and dangers of a warmer world,” wrote Dr. Renee N. Salas, a clinical instructor of emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School in the report’s policy brief.

These dangers include greater food insecurity and malnutrition, wider and faster spread of infectious diseases, an increase in air pollution and higher global temperatures, among other concerns.

In an article about the report, The New York Times also cited wildfires as a major area of concern for children in the future due to smoke and air quality impacts.

The Lancet report found that there has been a 77% increase in exposure to wildfire smoke worldwide in the last 5 years.

The report also addresses the mental health impacts of climate change on today’s youth.

The New York Times states that the trauma of escaping natural disasters, as well as the concern of living on an at-risk planet, contribute to a sense of dread and uncertainty in younger generations.

The full New York Times article is available here.

Worldwide children’s health at risk from climate change